A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.

Presentations>User Centered Design

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The Case for User-Centered Design   (PDF)

The need for user-centered design in this era of rapid technological change is reviewed, and key ingredients of a user-centered design process are described: (1) involvement of users, structured by rigorous user input and feedback methodologies, (2) multidisciplinary teamwork, from developing the initial concepts and approach to evaluating and refining the product after its introduction in the marketplace, and (3) focus on competitiveness, on state-of-theart user interfaces and technology. Data supporting the economic value of user-centered design processes is also reviewed.

Soderston, Candace and Thyra L. Rauch. STC Proceedings (1996). Presentations>User Centered Design>Usability


Cognitive Strain as a Factor in Effective Document Design   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

People have a limited amount of cognitive resources. Coping with the increasing amount of information presented via a software interface strains a user’s cognitive resources. If a person has to use documentation, whether on-line or paper, additional cognitive resources are consumed, often overloading the user. Using several windows or multi-media elements can compound the problem. Unfortunately, as Wickens (1992) states, humans are unable to manage excessive cognitive strain and they respond by getting frustrated, committing errors, shedding tasks, or reverting to known methods.

Albers, Michael J. ACM SIGDOC (1997). Presentations>User Centered Design>Usability>Cognitive Psychology


Communicating Effectively With Interaction   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

The ability to build interactions that support, enable, and improve communication is a valuable skill for help developers, Web-site designers, multimedia content developers, information-rich user interface designers-anyone who designs and develops information to be used online. This paper presents the basics of interaction design for information products and describes some basic underlying human factors and user-interface design principles.

Ames, Andrea L. ACM SIGDOC (2001). Presentations>Information Design>User Centered Design>Multimedia


Delivering Customer Satisfaction: Our Experiences with Responding to Customer Feedback   (PDF)

The success of an organization that publishes product information depends on customer satisfaction. IBM Product Announcement Support representatives share their experiences in achieving very high levels of customer satisfaction. * How we conducted our surveys and feedback sessions: – Actual approaches – Sample surveys and feedback * How we used this feedback to: – Change the content and format of our deliverable dramatically – Offer our customers additional ways to access product information As writers in IBM Product Announcement Support, our mission is to produce high-quality, effective offering information worldwide. Simply put, we publish IBM product announcements on the full range of IBM hardware, software, and services.

Howell Betz, Margaret. STC Proceedings (1996). Presentations>Usability>User Centered Design


Designing a Presentation

You will not draw any slides—in fact do not even launch PowerPoint—until step eight, 80% of the way through the process. Typically, when you want to create a presentation, you open PowerPoint and start creating slides. Slide one, slide two, … slide seventeen… what I am trying to say again? Am I making my point?

Abela, Andrew. Extreme Presentation Method (2008). Articles>Presentations>Planning>User Centered Design


Gathering Input for the Best Possible Prototype   (PDF)

Prototyping has long been a part of the sofiware development process, but is still an underutilized aspect of documentation design, particularly for online design. Developing a detailed approach to prototyping lets writers design and confirm document usability early in the development cycle. Implementing detailed prototyping in an iterative design cycle ultimately leads to the best possible document for the audience.

Mobley, Karen L. STC Proceedings (1997). Presentations>User Centered Design>Usability


Holistic Customer Experience

With products and services quickly becoming commoditized, price differentiation is no longer a sustainable model. Customers are demanding more from businesses. Businesses that have increased their investment in the customer experience over the past three years report higher customer referral rates and greater customer satisfaction. Customers turn into advocates. Customer experience is the sum of all experiences a customer has with a supplier of goods or services, over the duration of their relationship with that supplier.

Finck, Nick. NickFinck.com (2009). Presentations>User Experience>User Centered Design


Information Design Considerations for Improving Situation Awareness in Complex Problem-Solving   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

The conventional techniques for task analysis derive the basic tasks that make up user actions. However, in the complex-problem solving environment, attempts to describe step-by-step actions break down because no single route to a solution exists. Although individual tasks can be defined, task-analysis normally results in the tasks being divorced from context. However, to support complex problem-solving, the design must place the information within the situation context and allow users to develop and maintain situation awareness.

Albers, Michael J. ACM SIGDOC (1999). Presentations>User Centered Design>Usability


Involving Users Throughout The Information Development Process   (PDF)

Testing documents for usability is critical, but we don’t always get to do it. Even when we do, too often, it’s too little, too late. What we really want are documents that we are fine-tuning in usability testing because they already meet users’ needs, match our users’ mental models, and fit with the way that our users work.

Redish, Janice C. 'Ginny'. STC Proceedings (1994). Presentations>User Centered Design>Usability


Learnability in Information Design   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Design of information used for technical communication of complex products should consider how learnable that information is, and strive to deliver materials that are inherently learnable.The speed of information interchange and the demands of the workplace and school curricula require increasingly minimalist approaches to the material that is made available. People are frustrated by long learning times, and new users of software tools demand rapid absorption of tool capabilities. In addition, many readers of technical information are people for whom English is not their native language.Methods and practices that worked in the period when people were willing to commit to hours of study to understand a topic, or days of practice to master a tool, no longer work in a world based on ?internet time.? To assist our understanding of these trends in learning, this paper addresses three key areas related to learnability: proposing a definition of learnability, showing where learnability and usability intersect, and providing a basis for learnability based on some attributes of human beings.

Haramundanis, Kathy. ACM SIGDOC (2001). Presentations>User Centered Design>Usability>Cognitive Psychology


Managing the Knowledge Behind Business Decisions Through User-Centered Design: A Case Study

Jerome and Giovanni explain why efficient access to knowledge is essential for global business operations. Giovanni discusses how his company realized its systems needed improvement – and why user-centered design proved to be the appropriate solution. This empirical approach to interface design/architecture enables effective business decisions.

Nadel, Jerome and Giovanni Piazza. Human Factors International (2006). Presentations>User Centered Design>Streaming


Mental Processing of Online Documentation: From Concepts to Applications   (PDF)

This panel will review the existing literature on how we mentally process online documentation and describe some implications for effective online document design. We invite the audience to define with us some critical areas for further research.

Knodel, Elinor L., Henrietta Nickels Shirk, Candace Sodetston and James Thibeau. STC Proceedings (1997). Presentations>Documentation>User Centered Design


Understanding Principles of Usability, Part 1

In this podcast, Karen Bachmann, manager of the Usability and User Experience SIG, provides an overview of the user-centered design process. This is part one of a two part series.

Bachmann, Karen L. Tech Writer Voices (2006). Presentations>Usability>User Centered Design>Podcasts


User Centred Design: Is It Working?

Includes three parts--the current state of practitioner user-centred design, an overview of some of the things practitioners are interested in, and an examination of what we need to do to move forward.

Maurer, Donna. SlideShare (2006). Presentations>User Centered Design


User-Centered Design for Technical Communicators

How can user-centered design principles be applied to technical communication?

Sansbury, Will. WillSansbury.com (2009). Presentations>User Centered Design>TC


Using Usability “Use Cases” in Documentation Planning   (PDF)

This workshop presents an introduction to use cases - a planning tool which can be used for capturing a future documentation system's functional requirements as well as the overall information requirements of end users. You learn what a use case is and what recommended guidelines there are for creating use cases. You also learn how use cases are applied in the documentation development process as a whole.

Nurminen, Mary and Leena M. Rasinaho. STC Proceedings (1997). Presentations>Documentation>User Centered Design


What Users Want from Electronic Performance Support: Results from Three Waves of Qualitative Data   (PDF)

Quantitative data from user testing of three successive releases of a visual programming language demonstrated the limited value of several existing performance support systems. Qualitative data collected concurrently pointed to specific usability problems. Organization of help information was not clear to users, thereby hindering search. In addition, users could not act on help pages contained developer rather than user vocabulary and concepts.

Krull, Robert, Janet Friauf, Angela Eaton and Johel Brown-Grant. STC Proceedings (2002). Presentations>User Centered Design>EPSS


Writing as an Asynchronous Conversation

Conversation is a theme that flows through all the work we do as technical communicators. Every use of your web site is a conversation started by a busy site visitor.

Redish, Janice C. 'Ginny'. STC Proceedings (2008). Presentations>Web Design>Writing>User Centered Design

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